Li Ruigang (right) and his second wife Rebecca Yang Yuancao. Photos: Weibo
Li Ruigang (right) and his second wife Rebecca Yang Yuancao. Photos: Weibo

It has been quite a Halloween for Asia’s celebrity couples.

Just as fans were cheering the marriage of Korean idols Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong Ki, China Media Capital (CMC) boss Li Ruigang – who has been dubbed China’s Murdoch – stole the show by marrying his young business partner, Rebecca Yang Yuancao, a lady known as the Queen of TV Entertainment.

In contrast to the highly anticipated Song-Song tryst, which continued their on-screen romance in the popular drama series Descendent of the Sun, Li’s marriage to Yang came somewhat out of the blue.

All eyes – even those of viewers in mainland China, where the Korean drama has been blocked for a year – were on the Songs when a couple of photos surfaced on Weibo showing Li, 48, kneeling down before Yang, in whose TV company, IPCN, he invested three years ago.

IPCN produces China’s Got Talent, as well as other popular shows such as Voice of China and So You Think You Can Dance. Yang, 37, is its self-made chief executive. Born in Chongqing, she graduated from the UK’s Cardiff University and founded her company in London when she was 24.

Besides his chairmanship of CMC – whose holdings include television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, internet venture and, since 2012, a stake in Manchester City Football Club – Li is a major shareholder and vice chairman of Television Broadcast (TVB), Hong Kong’s No.1 free-to-air TV station, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary later this month.

That Li, a mainlander, is purported to be the top boss at TVB is controversial in Hong Kong, whose rules state that broadcasters in the city should be run by local people. In May this year, following a request from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, its Communications Authority announced an investigation into TVB’s shareholding structure.

As the company has been criticized over intensifying censorship of its news reports and programs over the past few years, Li, a member of the Communist Party of China, has been nicknamed TVB’s “party secretary.”

On Tuesday, shares of TVB greeted the owner’s new wife with a 3% surge. It is unclear when Li and his first wife, Liu Yi, were divorced.